The Oakland Raiders had an extremely disappointing third week after beating the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets in the first two games. The Raiders were handled by the Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football in every way possible and face a better team in week four. The Oakland Raiders keys to victory against the Denver Broncos bring them back to the basics.

Return of the Mack

Khalil Mack is back in Denver and his matchup looks very favorable. Former Raiders right tackle Menelik Watson switched teams this past off-season and joined the Denver Broncos. Watson has been plagued with injury issues and was rarely a bright spot on the line. Watson has also given up six sacks, six hurries and 14 total quarterback pressures this season in only three games. Mack should be excited to see this familiar face.

Another positive factor for the Raiders this game is that on the opposite end, Mario Edwards Jr. is playing at a high level again. The last time he and Mack were playing together in Denver at their best, Mack ended up with five sacks. Khalil Mack is one of the few players in the league with no weaknesses, which leaves the Broncos with only the choice to double team him. Opposing teams have been trying to contain his pressue but Mack has continued to get better. On the season, Mack has two sacks, six hurries and nine total pressures. The Raiders are counting on those numbers to add up in Denver.

Feed the Beast

This one is easy. When Marshawn Lynch only gets six carries in a football game, there is a low chance of winning that game. Lynch didn’t get enough opportunities against the Redskins and the Raiders suffered from not establishing the running game. Failing to run the ball well wasn’t the only problem, but the Raiders have to give Lynch carries.

Lynch has received only 30 carries in three games and still leads the NFL in broken tackles with 15. The Broncos will be the toughest matchup so far this year, and possibly the best defense the Raiders face this season. However, the offensive line and Lynch should not be afraid. Interior linemen Kelechi OsemeleRodney Hudson, and Gabe Jackson are monsters. Those three can pummel any defensive line in the league and Lynch is the right man to run behind them.

Last year, running back Latavius Murray had the best game of his career against Denver, running for 114 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. The Raiders knew that Murray wasn’t the right man to continue as the lead tailback for the team which is why Lynch was brought back from retirement. This is one of the critical games for Lynch to show his worth. All the Raiders need to do is give him the ball.

Welcome the Pressure

Derek Carr needs to get comfortable and not like last year. Carr was too content in the pocket last year because of how well the offensive line played. Carr’s quick release has helped his blockers out tremendously but now he needs to hold onto the ball a little more. Carr’s big time throw percentage is dreadful, last in the league. The 2.11 seconds it takes for Carr to release the ball is best in the NFL, but as a result, Carr is not doing what it takes to make enough big plays.

The Broncos have one of the best pass rushers in the game in Von Miller. Carr has to realize that this is football and he’s going to be pressured by elites like Miller. Carr’s 27.4 passer rating under pressure is disgusting for how good of a player he is. Stand in the pocket, find Amari Cooper and toss him a few pretty fly routes. Carr needs to trust that his offensive line can handle the front seven of the Broncos enough for him to get the ball to their offensive weapons. Welcome the pressure.

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